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Active Directory Structures for Small and Medium sized Businesses

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by Michael Day

One big advantage of Windows 2000 Active
Directory is the ability to store all type of information into a
single searchable structure…

By storing all these resources in the Active
Directory your users will be able to search for everything they need
to access in just one location. You can also use Organizational
Units to organize these resources based on who really needs to see
those items. 

For Example you could create a share point for
Sales reports and then add it to the Sales Organization Unit so only
the users in the Sales Organizational Unit can find that folder
since they are the only ones who need to access those files.


Active Directory Sites

Sites are defined by TCP/IP subnets and are
used to define which server your Active Directory Enabled clients
log on to. By default they will try to log on to the Domain
controller located in the same site they are located in. Active
Directory Enabled Clients are Windows 2000 Machines as well and
Windows 9X and NT Machines with the Active Directory Client
installed (This client is available on the Microsoft Website).

When creating sites most people need
just one unless there is a low speed WAN link(56Kbps or less) and
then one for each branch office that has a Domain Controller.  Check the WAN layout if you
dont have a server in each branch. We have one in the head office
that serves all the branches except the one that has its own server
because our WAN links all go to head office.


Organizational Units are optional
structures for organizing the layout of your users and machines. The
structure that works for my network is based on the physical
locations of the branches and then SubOrganizational Units dividing
them by departments (sales, service, office, i.e.). The only
exception to this structure is the IT Organizational Unit which is
separate from all the others because we have specific Group Policies
required for the IT Department. 

The biggest thing to remember about
Organizational Units is that they are optional and not
required for the operation of a Windows 2000 structure.  You can easily upgrade your
existing Windows NT Domains to a Windows 2000 Domain and not do any
reorganization of the users and it will work just as well as if you
created Organizational Units for everything.  The biggest use for
Organizational Units is to enable you to have different policies for
each branch, department, or whatever other method you can think of
to organize your network (IE Countries (Canada, US)).

Windows 2000 Domain User Accounts (Personal

User Accounts in
Windows 2000 contain far too much information if you fill all the
fields in.  All that is
missing is marital status and fields to add personal gossip it
appears.  I can see the
addition of department, office, phone numbers and email address but
all the other data is just extraneous information that really has no
bearing on businesses. Please note that this is just my personal

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